Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: January 25th, 2019
Genre: Melodic Rock
Toby Hitchcock: Vocals
Daniel Flores: All Keyboards and Drums
Michael Palace: Guitars and Bass
Yngve “Vinnie” Strömberg: Drums and Percussion
3.Show Me How To Live
4.Behind The Lies
5.Fighting For My Life
8.Gift Of Flight
10.This Is Our World
11.Someone Like You
I’ve always been attracted to guitar driven music more than anything, but I have also been fond of a strong vocalist. To be honest, even if a band has some brilliant guitar stuff going on, if I don’t like the voice it essentially kills it for me. Granted, I’ve always thought I had a keen ear for good singers. My top favorites are folks like Jeff Scott Soto, Tony Harnell, Danny Vaughn, Ann Wilson, etc. When the music is vocally driven, you’ve got to have a pretty powerful voice to carry it. Jim Peterik of Survivor fame stumbled across a young man while putting together his Pride of Lions band by the name of Toby Hitchcock, and he has certainly made a major impact on the melodic rock world, without a doubt. While Pride is taking some down time so that Peterik can focus on a new World Stage record, Hitchcock decided to follow up his 2011 solo debut Mercury’s Down with new solo material entitled Reckoning.
Plain and simple, Hitchcock could sing the phone book and make it sound great, but do you really want to hear a great voice doing something as inane? Of course not. His first solo album was stunning, and while Reckoning is pretty good, musically it is a bit more subdued and not as strong sonically. Toby’s voice is still powerful as hell, and it isn’t from lack of his talent. It’s almost as if the songs are kind of phoned in and uninspired. It pains me to say that too, as I had some high hopes for this one. And it’s not even that the songs are bad. At least in that case I could just say, “Blech,” and move on. The songs are good, I didn’t feel like I wasted my time listening to it. I just didn’t feel fired up by it. It’s a good album, but what is going to set it apart, aside from that amazing voice? If I step away from the debut solo record and hear it as a project on its own (and perhaps that’s the intention, why does comparison need to happen) it still doesn’t’ blow me away, but it’s still good. Tracks like “Fighting For My Life,” “No Surrender,” and “Don’t Leave” have potential, but it still seems like something is missing.
Toby Hitchcock’s Reckoning is a good album, and helps him keep his chops in shape I suppose, but sadly it falls kind of short of the greatness that it could’ve been. It’s got to be a daunting task to follow up an amazing album, and perhaps with the length of time between the two, Hitchcock has changed directions musically. I just wish the songs matched the strength of that voice because Reckoning would be almost untouchable. As it is it’s a good listen, but not one that is going to stick with me later on I’m afraid.
Written by: Chris Martin